Tips for Recording Your Voice Mail Greeting

In my small hometown, I remember folks' reactions to the first personal answering machines. The same people who set their machines up with excitement often did not want to "talk to the machine" when they called someone else. And the new owner would record, listen and re-record their own greeting time after time, striving for perfection.

Then came the silly stage. Kids singing songs before the "we're not home" announcement and grown-ups using crazy fake accents were almost as annoying as the pranksters: "Hello?.....Hello? Is anyone there? Ha Ha, gotcha! This is the machine, leave a message."

In the business world, many employees are self-conscious about recording their greetings, and in our modern day work environment, with cubicles optimizing space instead of private offices, some are even more nervous because they don't have privacy to record, listen and re-record. Many use the generic system greeting that comes with their voice mail system; others continue to use the unwelcoming "I'm sorry I can't take your call, please leave a message" that they may have recorded during an initial training session.

Voicemail remains frustrating for both users and callers, but knowing how to set up your voicemail properly alleviates some of the annoyance.

Voicemail, when utilized properly, is a huge timesaver. I have personally come to prefer reaching a person's voicemail, at least in some instances. Many questions can be addressed quickly and efficiently through the exchange of voicemails, in less than one minute per call. When I reach a person directly, however, it takes at least a minute for the ‘niceties': "Hi, how are you?" "Fine, and you?" "Good, I got your message, and I've just been so busy, I'm sorry I couldn't get back to you sooner. But I do have some information for you." "No problem, I know what you mean. I've been caught up in a zillion projects myself..." It takes forever to get down to business in person! And the same problem repeats itself at the end of the call... "Thanks so much for your help." "No problem, thank you for calling" "Okay, talk to you soon."

Tips for recording your personal voice mail greeting:


  • Modify sample scripts to write your own, personal script.
  • Practice your script! Read it out loud three times before attempting to record. This not only makes you more comfortable and alleviates the problem of sounding like you are reading, you will also have a chance to ‘hear' wording that sounds awkward.
  • Don't listen to yourself! Almost no one likes to hear his or her own voice. You will know if you misspeak. If in doubt, ask someone else to listen while you record-they will tell you if you really mess up.
  • Re-record your voicemail greeting daily. The practice will make recording a breeze and improve the ‘sound' of your greeting, and keeping your message up to date will help your callers leave effective messages.
  • Request a "detailed" rather than a "brief" message. Many people are reluctant to encourage long messages, but the truth is that callers who are "long-winded" will be long-winded regardless. Encourage callers to leave enough information so that you can answer their inquiries in a return voice mail if necessary, avoiding "telephone tag."
  • Call back! Even if you don't have an answer right away, let your callers know you received their message. A simple "Received your message and I'm working on it," will save you both time in follow-up calls.

Using Sample Greetings

Still not sure what to say? Review sample voice mail scripts to get you started, but it is best to add your personal touch to sample greetings. Remember your goal is to alleviate the caller's frustration when they don't reach a live person and to encourage your callers to leave informative messages!

Copyright Dineane Whitaker 2008 - Please do not copy and paste this article, but feel free to post a link using this url:

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Comments 11 comments

DonnaCSmith profile image

DonnaCSmith 8 years ago from Central North Carolina

I remember recording one of my horses whinnying for my voice mail. Someone got the voice mail and later told me, "I thought I was hearing the devil or something." So much for the horse asnwering the phone at the stables.

donnaleemason profile image

donnaleemason 8 years ago from North Dakota, USA

Great ideas.

dineane profile image

dineane 8 years ago from North Carolina Author

Great suggestion, John, and I agree that if you can organzier your work in such a manner, then absolutely, providing a specific time to return calls is preferrable. Unfortunately, I'm a slave to the phone...when it rings I must at answer :-)

Stephanie C Price profile image

Stephanie C Price 8 years ago from Williamston, NC

I tend to return phone calls in groups as John suggests. But only during specific times of the year in my business. During the school year, my phone rings off the hook and every call is a matter of life and death. That's for my cell phone too. I finally changed my cell message to a very generic this is stephanie leave a message and I'll call you back. I can't be all cute on that because I get so many business calls on it.

Renegade Coach profile image

Renegade Coach 8 years ago from Langley, BC

Thanks for the great tips!

Delmae Joy 8 years ago

Excellent hub. Answering machines with brief message/instructions get the thumbs up from me. I hadn't thought of some of your great ideas. Thanks.

Dane 8 years ago

Worst blog ever!

dineane profile image

dineane 8 years ago from North Carolina Author

Hmmm...sorry you wasted your time Dane.

britneydavidson profile image

britneydavidson 7 years ago from united kingdom

nice hub....great information....what's wrong with dane????i have enjoyed reading it..

have a look for this one i am sure you will like it...


laxman 6 years ago

nice information.....thanks for u r yips

Guy 5 years ago

Thank you for this blog

Personally i found it very informative and eased my mind, I am about to takle my first, whoop whoop

Take care


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